CEO & Senior Staff Retreat 
September 16-17, 2019
The Greenbrier, 101 Main Street West, White Sulphur Springs, WV 24986
CAE Hours: 11 
$645 Member / $795 Non-member

 View Registrants

This exclusive two-day event for association CEOs and other senior staff leaders is focused on equipping you to lead your association now and into the future. Three content leaders will guide you through six sessions and roundtable discussions (for a total of 11 CAE hours) to provide insights and tools so you will walk away with new energy and innovative ways to approach your association leadership style. All while enjoying the luxury of spending two days at The Greenbrier, America’s Resort. 


Monday, September 16

9:00 - 9:30 am Registration & Welcome 
9:30 - 11:00 am Working Through the Clutter in Order to Articulate Your Goal and Engage Your Team
11:00 am - 12:30 pm Developing Your Point of Strategic Focus and Making it Real
12:30 - 1:30 pm Roundtable Discussions with Lunch 
1:30 - 2:00 pm Break
2:00 - 3:30 pm

Creative Leadership: The Art of Creative Problem-Solving
Part 1: Harnessing the Power of Creativity

3:30 - 5:00 pm

Creative Leadership: The Art of Creative Problem-Solving
Part 2: Creative Application: Five Rules for Association Leaders

5:00 - 6:30 pm Break
6:30 - 7:30 pm Reception 
7:30 - 9:00 pm Dinner
9:00 - 11:00 pm Dessert & Cocktails 

Tuesday, September 17

7:30 - 8:30 am Breakfast
8:30 - 10:30 am

7 Steps to Building Organizational Resilience

10:30 am - 12:30 pm Listening with Intent
12:30 pm  Boxed Lunch & Depart



Working Through the Clutter in Order to Articulate Your Goal and Engage Your Team
Mary E. Power, ACC, CAE, FASAE, M-Powering Leaders LLC
As leaders, you face the constant challenge of sorting through the noise of the urgent and important in creating clear focus. You will learn a goal setting model that engages all members of your team in accomplishing this. Through developing a shift in mindset, you will be able to focus on how your team can best allocate their time, energy and resources and filter out distractions. You will increase employees’ desire to engage and take accountability for their work.

  • Apply a model that invites and sustains self-accountability.
  • Practice shifting your mindset by applying the tools and principles.
  • Identify the key elements of your specific goal and filter our distractions or competing priorities.
  • Develop strategies to improve performance management for both managers and direct reports.

Developing Your Point of Strategic Focus and Making it Real
Mary E. Power, ACC, CAE, FASAE, M-Powering Leaders LLC
Quickly translate complex ideas and requirements into compelling content and communications solutions with confidence and clarity to win support. Success or failure of an idea has a lot to do with a clear focus on not only what you will do but what you will not do. Goal framing is a methodical approach that takes the guesswork out of knowing what is the overriding goal that will drive the winning effort. Discover how this process helps all team members develop the language of success that wins their hearts and minds.

  • Create highest value messages for your team based on a single goal and unifying purpose.
  • Increase efficiency/eliminate unnecessary work and redundancy.
  • Play to each team member’s strength against a clear, shared goal.
  • Have a single platform on which your team(s) can organize key communications and plans.

Creative Leadership: The Art of Creative Problem-Solving
Kelly O’Keefe, Head of Creative Brand Management: VCU Brandcenter and CEO of Brand Federation
We live in inspiring times. Individuals, businesses, even whole communities are celebrating creative problem solving and entire new industries are being formed to fuel innovation. Without a doubt, creativity is a powerful force, but only when inspiration is channeled into innovation and this is often where things start to break down. Creative strategist Kelly O’Keefe shows how enlightened association leaders are combining creative problem solving with discipline to bring innovative concepts to life refreshing the image of their organizations and add value to their members. O’Keefe will also walk through the common mistakes leaders make that prevent the realization of great ideas.

Part 1: Harnessing the Power of Creativity
We all know that creativity has the power to brighten our lives, unlock innovation in our work and bring new life to businesses and communities, but how does it work? In this presentation, VCU Brandcenter professor and creative innovator, Kelly O’Keefe will help us understand the forces that drive creativity and how we can take advantage of them.

Part 2: Creative Application: Five Rules for Association Leaders
Participants will be introduced to five techniques for applying creative thinking to association challenges. Real association examples will be included for each. Then the group will be broken into teams and given a real-world challenge that only creative thinking can solve. The teams will use the lessons they’ve been taught in the training to develop an innovative solution.

7 Steps to Building Organizational Resilience
Lowell Aplebaum, CAE, CPF, CEO & Strategy Catalyst, Vista Cova, LLC
As organizations face ever-increasing disruption, engaging in an ongoing process of organizational structure and strategy strengthening helps association thrive through adaptation and change. This session will review seven key areas where associations can turn their attention today, reinforcing where they excel in preparation for tomorrow.

Listening with Intent
Lowell Aplebaum, CAE, CPF, CEO & Strategy Catalyst, Vista Cova, LLC
Each of us has the ability to take our inherent senses and raise them to an advanced level – this session will explore how to elevate your ability to listen and connect with others. By reviewing (and experimenting with) how we inherently listen in an ever-increasingly noisy world, you will walk away with places to focus and approaches to apply. Learning where your own listening strengths shine, and where you can build new skills will improve the conversations and relationships you have at work every day.

[Return to top

Registration Fees


Early Bird
By Aug 2

After Aug 2
After Sep 11
VSAE Member $595 $645 $745
Non-member $745 $795 $895
Spouse/Guest* $124 $154 $184

This retreat is limited to chief staff executives and senior staff leadership for associations and non-profits, including account executives from association management companies (AMCs). Registration is all-inclusive of all educational sessions and meals, with a sleeping room on September 16. 

Members who are not attending may substitute a staff member with proper qualifications. Email your request to [email protected].

* Spouse/guest registration includes the Monday night dinner and reception only. All other functions are limited to attendees only. **Onsite fee will apply to any registration received after 5:00 p.m., September 11.

Refund Policy

Cancel by Thursday, August 8, $500 refunded.
Cancel by Thursday, August 15, $400 refunded.
Cancel AFTER Thursday, August 15, no refund.

CROWD RELEASE: By registering to attend and by your presence, you consent to be photographed, filmed, and/or otherwise recorded. Your registration constitutes your consent to such photography, filming, and/or recording and to any use, in any and all media throughout the universe in perpetuity, of your appearance, voice, and name for any purpose whatsoever in connection with this VSAE event.

[Return to top]

Content Leaders 

Mary E. Power, ACC, CAE, FASAE, M-Powering Leaders LLC

Mary Power is an accomplished business driver whose entrepreneurial instincts and strategic vision have carried multiple organizations through rapid growth and major organizational change.  She has 20 years of progressively responsible experience in the hospitality industry and 17 years as CEO of three very diverse international associations which she has led through a significant turnaround and global expansion.


Kelly O’Keefe, Head of Creative Brand Management: VCU Brandcenter and CEO of Brand Federation 

Kelly O’Keefe has been a nationally-known innovator for over 30 years. O’Keefe’s firm was named Agency of the Year by AdWeek, while O’Keefe has been recognized as Virginia Entrepreneur of the Year. O’Keefe is in the Virginia Communications Hall of Fame and was awarded a Silver Medal by the American Advertising Federation for contributions to raising the industry’s standards in the area of creative excellence and social responsibility.


Lowell Aplebaum, CAE, CPF, CEO & Strategy Catalyst, Vista Cova, LLC

Lowell Aplebaum, CAE, CPF is the CEO and Strategy Catalyst of Vista Cova – a company that partners with organizations on strategic visioning and planning, creating stronger stakeholder connections, and reimagining value and engagement.  Lowell frequently provides dynamic sessions to organizations – conducting deep-dive interviews and getting members and volunteers involved through experiential learning approaches. He is the creator of a master-level learning series called Through the CEO Lens and Association Charrette – a co-creation retreat experience. His work on global efforts for associations has included experience across five continents, hundreds of volunteer groups, and all 50 states in the U.S.

[Return to top]



The Greenbrier |101 Main Street West| White Sulphur Springs, WV 24986 | (855) 453-4858

Room Rate: $199 (plus taxes and historic preservation fee)
Room block cutoff date: August 21
Reservations: (833) 279-0693

Attendees will need to make their own hotel room reservations. VSAE will cover the room charges, taxes, and historic preservation fee for Monday night, September 16, only (not for sponsors).

Located amid the breathtaking mountains of West Virginia, The Greenbrier is a National Historic Landmark and world-class resort that has been welcoming guests from around the world since 1778. The natural mineral springs that drew our first guests over 235 years ago continue to lure visitors to our 11,000 acre luxury retreat today. With a guest list that includes 27 of our country’s 45 Presidents, America’s Resort has long been a favorite destination of royalty, celebrities and business leaders. Today, The Greenbrier invites a new generation to come out and play. Enjoy relaxing pastimes, start treasured traditions, or set out on an amazing adventure together.  You'll find endless vacation possibilities at The Greenbrier.


PGA Tournament
A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier
Sunday, September 15 
Course: The Old White TPC
The Greenbrier is offering complimentary general admission tickets for the final round of competition.

Tuesday, September 17
Course: The Old White TPC
Fee: $150 per person, including green fees, cart fees, forecaddie and gratuity. (Normally $450 per person.)
Tee times begin at 2:00 pm.
Limited to 16 players.

[Return to top] 



[Return to top]